Italy had a rousing last minute victory over a very good German team, and France secured their spot today on a penalty kick goal by the man who's hoping to go down as one of the all time greatest, Zinedine Zidane.
I found the France - Portugal game a bit disappointing. I hate to see any game decided by a penalty kick. Miguel and Deco had little impact on the game and I thought they would be the two to take Portugal to the next level. Cristiano Ronaldo was booed every time he touched the ball. In a way it may have inspired him to play his best, however he put too much of the game on his own foot. Figo showed he is still a world class player, however he's not really a premier one on one goal scorer anymore. In the end France was just too much, the speed or Ribery and Henry, the mistake-less defense of Thuram and Gallas, and the skill and composure of Zidane making them one of the most balanced teams I've ever seen. If Cisse was playing...well we can leave that for later.
The Italy - Germany game on the other hand was easily one of the best of the tournament. End to end action, great goals, and none of the unnecessary antics that have marred too many of Portugal's games. Italy frustrated Ballack, and without him to move the ball to Klose and Podolski, the offense struggled. Their defense played well for almost 2 hours before finally breaking down and allowing the two goals. It will be interesting to see if Klinnsman stays on and develops Germany any further, or if he can perhaps be lured away to coach the US national team.
I predict a slow paced final, with France taking the occasional shot and Italy playing very defensively for the first 60 minutes. Neither team can truly be said to have a large advantage if it goes to penalty kicks, so I'll say 1-0 France on Henry goal, and the debate about Zidane's place in history will begin.
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